Environment & Science

Los Angeles utility to up energy efficiency 15 percent

Photo by Michael Chen via Flickr Creative Commons

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The board that oversees L.A.’s department of water and power voted today to boost the city’s energy efficiency goals more than the state requires. 

Until recently, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power  was failing to meet state goals for reducing electricity demand. Officials blamed inconsistent funding for an energy efficiency program that was hard to navigate. Now it’s been overhauled, and DWP is investing one and a quarter billion dollars over the next decade to help its ratepayers use about 15 percent less power.

Selling less electricity means DWP might have to nudge energy rates up a bit over the next 10 years to cover fixed costs, like replacing lines. But community activists, environmentalists, business and labor leaders told the board efficiency programs are worth it. Stella Ursua is part of the RepowerLA coalition.

"There are a lot of folks both small businesses and homeowners that are really struggling," Ursua said. "Having these types of improvements are critical to their staying in business, and to ensuring that their energy bills go down."

Ursua says LA’s energy efficiency program also helps sustain jobs – DWP and its electrical worker’s union train technicians to audit energy use and retrofit equipment at an 18-month program.